School Board Notes
Meetings in Review
The Methacton Board of School Directors heard from Mr. Regina, Director of Labor Relations and Human Resources, on the potential furlough of several support staff as a result of the district moving to an all online delivery for the first marking period. In his presentation on August 18, there were more than 20 individuals that were proposed to be furloughed. Mr. Regina explained that due to the work of other administrators to organize the on premises related services center and other on premises student services during the all virtual academic delivery, the district was able to utilize staff to support the operation of this program and were able to forgo any potential layoffs. Equally, more than 10 custodial and maintenance staff were saved as the administration proposed reassigning duties to other projects that have been on hold for some time, including preparing for a sale of the internal contents of the Audubon school.
Dr. Zerbe presented on a number of reopening matters including the release of the Methacton Parent Center, an update on Technology devices, transportation of non-public students and NMTCC students, the reassignment of several professional staff to take on supportive roles during the online delivery, Athletics, Clubs/Activities, grant awards, and next steps in planning process.
Of greatest significance is the fact that there remains a large order of Chromebooks that are likely not going to be available when school starts. Dr. Zerbe explained that the Technology Department will be distributing devices in the coming week and we believe that we have enough machines to cover the need so long as the immediate need is similar to that in the spring.
Additionally, Dr. Zerbe shared that he would like to form and ad hoc committee of the Board to help organize the path forward to begin bringing students on premises. He stated that he would work through the Education Committee of the Board and plans to provide a recommendation on a path forward in September.
Lastly, there was much discussion about Athletics and the issuance of coaching contracts given the uncertainty of everything. Dr. Zerbe recommended that we proceed forward with the hiring of coaches with the hopes that we can provide our student athletes with an outlet while informing the Board that there is certainly risk involved in the proceeding forward such as the uncertainty of the schedule –what schools remain to play – is probably the largest issue before us.
Dr. Matthew Walsh of Lansdale was appointed Tuesday, August 25, 2020 as the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Methacton School District. Dr. Walsh has 9 years of Central Office experience and 9 years of experience as an elementary school principal. He has been an elementary teacher and has worked in both North Penn and Wissahickon school districts. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member for Gwynedd Mercy University’s graduate teaching and learning program. The process was extensive with a tremendous number of capable and talented applicants. We anticipate his starting on or about October 1, 2020.
Flexible Instructional Day Application
Ms. Jenifer Brucker, Supervisor of Elementary Curriculum, presented the FID or Flexible Instructional Day application recommended by the administration to be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The FID is a means under state statute that -- during a normal school operating year -- can use up to five days to provide remote instruction in lieu of taking a snow day. If our application is approved, it will allow us to better plan the district calendar and limit disruptions or the need to make up snow days (so long as there are not more than five snow days).